Cruise News Shorts: Wireless Royal, Skip the Line Carnival and A Captain Takes the Blame

October 26, 2012

(4:00 p.m. EDT) -- Every week we catch wind of so much cruise news, we don't always know what to do with it all, but a few standout bits usually catch our attention. Here are some interesting cruise tidbits we think you might like to know about.

Royal Goes Wireless

No more Internet "dead" zones on Royal Caribbean ships as the company plans to roll out bow-to-stern wireless across the fleets of all three brands, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara. The company's CIO, Bill Martin, told the Wall Street Journal the upgraded wireless system will have enough connectivity for basic Internet functions such as e-mail and Facebook but not for streaming videos. Though the connection will continue to be slow, Martin said the company also is upgrading to more powerful satellites that it says will increase bandwidth seven-fold. So far 14 ships have received the bow-to-stern upgrade.

Why Wait on Line If You Don't Have To

You either love or hate Carnival's Faster to the Fun program, which enables a limited number of passengers to purchase perks normally only available to elite members of the cruise line's loyalty program. Either way, the response in terms of bookings has been positive enough that the line is rolling it out to more ships. The program will be expanded to Port Canaveral-based ships Ecstasy (November 5), Sensation (November 8) and Dream (November 10). Carnival Triumph and Magic, both based in Galveston, will launch the program November 15 and 18, respectively. Faster to the Fun already is available on Carnival Destiny, Valor, Imagination and

Captain at Fault for Cruise Ship Accident

Authorities have found the captain of Yorktown was at fault when he grounded the ship August 25 in the Detroit River. A U.S. Coast Guard investigation determined the captain "made serious errors in judgment due to his lack in waterway familiarization and understanding," the Detroit Free Press reported. Additionally, the captain lacked the proper certification for sailing the Detroit River. The Coast Guard fined the ship's operator, V Ships Leisure, $3,000 for the incident, which happened as the ship was carrying 120 passengers. No passengers were injured, and the ship was undamaged, though a tug was required to free it.

A Whole New World

As 2012 comes to a close, so too will the "old" Windstar fleet. By the end of the year, the line's $18 million fleetwide refurbishment project will be done, and all three yachts in the fleet will sport shiny new coats of paint, updated public spaces, more comfortable staterooms and transformed main dining rooms.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor